Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young rebuffed criticism for the city’s high homicide rate on Wednesday, telling reporters that he’s not the one who is “committing the murders.”
“It’s not any lack of leadership on my part. I’ve been moving this city forward,” Mr. Young said during a press conference, a local CBS affiliate reported. “I’m not committing the murders.”
The mayor’s comments come after John Hoey, the CEO of the Y of Central Maryland, issued an op-ed Monday decrying the “crisis of leadership” in Baltimore as the city neared 300 homicides for the fifth straight year.
Mr. Young said Wednesday that he “begs to differ.”
“I’m not committing the murders,” he repeated. “The police commissioner is not committing it. The council is not committing it. So, how can you fault leadership? You know, this has been five years of 300-plus murders, and I don’t see it as a lack of leadership.”
Several Democratic candidates seeking Mr. Young’s office in 2020 spoke out against the mayor’s comments, including Democratic City Council President Brandon Scott, who said “residents deserve to know their leaders have a vision to coordinate our precious resources in the fight against violent crime effectively and urgently, not passing the buck,” The Baltimore Sun reported.
Democrat Thiru Vignarajah added, “If he thinks it’s not just his job to end the bloodshed, he should hand over the reins to someone who realizes it is.”
Mr. Young responded to the criticism with a statement acknowledging leadership’s role in the safety of the community but adding that he can’t fix the problem alone.
“While no leaders in our city are personally responsible for these crimes, ALL of us have a role to play in stopping them. And, as Mayor, I take and will continue to take responsibility for making our city safer and cleaner,” the statement read. “But the City leadership can’t do it alone. We need community leaders, stakeholders, and everyday Baltimoreans to come together and work to reduce gun violence.”
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